Friday Patriots Headlines: October 1st

Ian Logue
October 01, 2010 at 08:36am ET

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower returning to practice field an encouraging sign
Why was Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy doing pushups at a bowling alley?
Patriots owner Robert Kraft owns no concerns that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are missing OTAs
New NFL policy lets players who don’t want to stand for anthem stay in locker room
Former Patriots rip NFL’s new anthem policy

It's the end of the work week, and a full weekend ahead to enjoy since the Patriots don't play until Monday night.  Hopefully today goes by quickly for everyone, but in the meantime here are this morning's headlines.

Mike Reiss of takes a look at the deal involving offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka, who the team acquired via trade from the Falcons during the preseason but was released yesterday.  The deal was reportedly for a conditional pick (believed to be a 7th round draft choice) and Reiss wonders what Ojinnaka's release means for the team. has an article this morning on Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis, who says he's ready for Sunday's battle against Randy Moss.   Moss reportedly talked to Davis after their meeting last year, and had some encouraging words for him - which he hasn't forgotten.
“Just to be out there competing against him, holding my own, it gave me the mindset that I could play in this league,” Davis said Wednesday. “I can be pretty good in this league. That’s just a really good feeling. I just thanked God to have the opportunity.”

Monique Walker of the Boston Globe takes a look at rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes, who's admitted that he's had moments where his inexperience has hurt him.  So far through three games he's done a servicable job for a rookie, ranking fourth on the team in tackles.  Spikes told the newspaper one area where he's struggled has been covering tight ends, with the Jets game against Dustin Keller being the most frustrating after Keller finished with a game-high seven catches for 115 yards and one touchdown.
“Sometimes it just comes with a pass-run conflict,’’ Spikes said. “[You have to] read the run and get back. I have help over the top, but it’s my job to try and stay with the tight end, so I try to do that. I know in the Jets game I kind of lost him a few times, but it’s a learning curve. I’ve got to take steps.’’

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald also has an article on Spikes, with Spikes telling him that he's had no issue with the speed of the game in the NFL, but the week-to-week game planning has been a challenge.
“Every week is a different offense, different key players, different things to expect,” said Spikes in his first interview since preseason ended. “We got to scheme against (each of) them. The game plan changes and you got to try to keep up.”

Michael Vega of the Globe has an artice this morning on former Dolphin Wes Welker, who has had some good games against his former team.  Last season he finished with 10-catches for 167 yards down in Miami, although New England was at the wrong end of a 21-20 score.
“It’s always great to go back to Miami and get to play at a place I was at for three years,’’ said Welker. “I enjoyed my time there and everything like that, so it’s always good to go back and see some familiar faces, although they’re not so familiar anymore.’’

Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle also has more on Welker, who feels that the team needs to play well Monday night if they hope to come out of Miami with a win and end their frustrating recent history of losses on the road.
"We've just got to play better football on the road and make more plays, and realize that everything counts," he said. "Especially in those road games, if it comes down to the third and fourth quarters where we've got to make plays, we can't let the crowd become a factor and make those plays."

Farinella also takes a look at rookie Devin McCourty, who will likely have moments where he's matched up against Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall Monday night.  McCourty told the newspaper that he's going to his best to try and slow him down.
"I'm just going to embrace it," the rookie from Rutgers said. "I'm just going out there and playing, and it's not really declaring where we line up in, but at corner, whoever lines up on our side, we have to treat them the same way and go out and challenge them."

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald also has more on this match-up, pointing out that the 6'4" receiver towers over McCourty, who is only 5'10" - which should make for an interesting battle Monday night.

Christopher Price of also has an article on McCourty, who he feels so far through three games the rookie is growing up fast in New England's defensive system.

Steve Buckley of the Herald has a column this morning on New England's road woes, and believes that the team has plenty to prove when they take the field against the Dolphins Monday night.

That's it for this morning.  We'll have more at later this afternoon so be sure and check back for updates.